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SCHOOL PIC

The school year in America is coming to an end, and many classes celebrate with parties or graduation ceremonies. Last week, one of my friends posted this photo from her son's preschool graduation. Having no children of my own, I'm completely removed from the school scene, but was happy to see this presentation on the wall. Complete integration and celebration of the diverse student population, from all over the globe. Some of these flags I don't even know! Then I remembered a recent post by rider3099 about English meetings, where local immigrants gather to practice English speaking skills together at the library. These gatherings are held at almost every library across the USA, no matter how small the town. You can read Olga's report about the gatherings here. We have a real problem with many immigrants not learning basic English skills, and in my nephew's kindergarten class some of the kids had almost no knowledge of English when the school year began (only Spanish). I have no idea how the teachers work with them, but somehow they manage.

One of the things I love most about America is the diverse population. People from every corner of the globe living in the same place, for the most part in harmony.  Of course, there are intolerant people here as in all other countries, but I think in America they are the minority. Does Russia have public displays like this at schools to celebrate diversity? Or, local gatherings for immigrants to practice and learn Russian? Just curious. I know many people who have immigrated from Russia to America, but have no acquaintances who immigrated from the West to live in Russia.

I mentioned before that I do free legal work for select immigrants seeking asylum and U-Visas in the U.S. I'm a big advocate for this population, even illegals, provided they are working and contributing favorably to American society. So far, I've successfully helped two immigrants become U.S. citizens - a gay man persecuted and tortured in his home country of Cameroon, and a domestic abuse victim from Honduras. My proudest days as a lawyer. Perhaps one day I'll share their stories.

What do you think? Should diversity and cultural heritage be celebrated in public schools?

Comments

( 103 comments — Leave a comment )
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lara_anna
Jun. 18th, 2014 02:09 pm (UTC)
I wonder if the Russian flag is upside down intentionally...
peacetraveler22
Jun. 18th, 2014 02:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, I didn't even notice that. :) Intentionally? Doubtful.
(no subject) - vladshatilov - Jun. 18th, 2014 02:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 18th, 2014 02:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - yarowind - Jun. 18th, 2014 04:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - siberian_cat - Jun. 18th, 2014 05:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
moonrainbow
Jun. 18th, 2014 02:24 pm (UTC)
Soviet schools used to have things like that. The slogan was different: "the friendshp between the peoples". The focus was on the folks of the Soviet Union, "international friendship" was declared but remained a theory mostly because a foreigner in the USSR was a rarity. Universities used to have a share of students from the friendly socialist countries. A foreigner from a capitalist country was a curiosity and would raise interest.

Today Russians are more selfish and nationalistic, so it is unpopular. Again, there are sometimes international public events, but this is contrary to a common trend of self-isolation. There are a lot more foreigners in the country, and many more Russians travel abroad.

So those who want to know foreigners also know that people are people everywhere. There are others who don't want to know, and there's little to be done here. School celebrations alone wouldn't help. This has to be a cultural shift.
peacetraveler22
Jun. 18th, 2014 02:32 pm (UTC)
I like this slogan - "friendship between the peoples." Btw, did I tell you my aunt visited Moscow and St. Petersburg during Soviet times? In the early 80's, when Western tourists were a rarity. She still recalls people coming up to her asking about Levis and bubblegum. :) She's my kindred spirit - the only other person in my family with a true passion for travel. She's been all over the globe, traveling under armored protection in the Egyptian desert at night, etc. I think it would be cool for her to return to modern day Russia to experience the cultural shifts from her trip there in the 80's.
lara_anna
Jun. 18th, 2014 02:26 pm (UTC)
And now that I finished reading - it's a good thing to do in schools, because Russians are often xenophobic, and the kids pick it up.
On the one hand - I believe the foreigners should assimilate, but on the other - I wouldn't be happy if in my kid's class there where children from former republics, they hardly speak Russian, fall behind, usually not supervised by parents as they have to work. I know thats a problem in some new Moscow areas.
Its all so complicated...
peacetraveler22
Jun. 18th, 2014 02:36 pm (UTC)
I completely agree with you on assimilation. If you immigrate to another country, you must make efforts to learn the language and function in society. The young children can't be blamed for not knowing English, as the only way of learning before school is at home w/parents or relatives. The good thing is that most kids are able to pick-up new languages quickly (as compared to lingual studies as an adult).Thus, most of the kids in my nephews class now speak English pretty well. Immigration - there are no easy answers, especially in a place like America where the illegal population has spiraled out of control for many, many years. To try to fix everything now is almost impossible.
(no subject) - siberian_cat - Jun. 18th, 2014 05:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
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vitsky
Jun. 18th, 2014 02:38 pm (UTC)
The word "tolerance" was not used in USSR. The "friendship between nations" was declared instead.
Feel the difference. ;)







general_denikin
Jun. 18th, 2014 03:12 pm (UTC)
Inspite of so long period of propaganda of the internationalism in USSR the former soviet people, especially from Russia itself are ones of the the most racistic schmucks on the earth.
(no subject) - moonrainbow - Jun. 18th, 2014 04:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - general_denikin - Jun. 18th, 2014 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
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girlspell
Jun. 18th, 2014 02:51 pm (UTC)
I think in Russia it's more nationalism. It's very strong in Russia because of the terrible wars (especially WW2) that still lingers today. They are not known as a national of immigrants. The U.S. is. It was founded as one. I wasn't born in the U.S. I was born in Italy. I came here when I was 8. We were legal immigrants. I didn't know English. They put in the 3rd grade. I sat there for weeks totally confused. Other then math class, I did nothing. I recognized some of the letters, but I could not understand any words. One day I lost my lunch money. I was in a panic and started crying. Nobody knew what was wrong with me. I thought I would not get any lunch. Finally the teacher figured it out and gave me her money. The teacher gave me words on cards and put them on the "door", "table", chair" etc. That helped. But yes I learned English by being taught in English.

Here is a short Russia film (but it could have been about me) In the U.S. school with out English. It's called "No Problem"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1L88lxDrJ4

Edited at 2014-06-18 02:56 pm (UTC)
a_nimaida
Jun. 18th, 2014 03:40 pm (UTC)
Russia does not nationalism ...
peacetraveler22 was in Russia, she asserts is
people are very sensitive about the word "fascism"
it is for us pain
my family lost 7 people. 1 my family
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 18th, 2014 03:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
general_denikin
Jun. 18th, 2014 03:06 pm (UTC)
>>> Does Russia have public displays like this at schools to celebrate diversity<<<

Diversity, tolerance, democracy, human rights, multiculture are probable the most hateful terms among majority of Russians. Are you really not aware on this?
They are never shy to display their hate toward people of other race and ethnicity.
peacetraveler22
Jun. 18th, 2014 03:38 pm (UTC)
No, I'm completely aware this is the view of some Russians. But I was curious if Russian children are taught to understand and appreciate diversity in the schools there? Some of my readers have kids, so they can answer.
(no subject) - general_denikin - Jun. 18th, 2014 11:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
a_nimaida
Jun. 18th, 2014 03:33 pm (UTC)
I want to live
Russian flag?
I want that the U.S. and Russia were friends why not, I do not know (
tired of the battle of American and Russian oligrahov (((
peacetraveler22
Jun. 18th, 2014 03:35 pm (UTC)
Re: I want to live
Russian and American people are friends! Like here in my blog. :) Politicians and politics are something entirely different.
Re: I want to live - a_nimaida - Jun. 18th, 2014 03:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I want to live - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 18th, 2014 04:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Re: I want to live - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 18th, 2014 05:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
peacetraveler22
Jun. 18th, 2014 04:07 pm (UTC)
"Tolerant skulls." Good one! :) So, what do you desire for Russia? A ban on Muslim immigrants?
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 18th, 2014 04:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
pin_gwin
Jun. 18th, 2014 05:44 pm (UTC)
School... yes, but what's next? It does not penetrate under the surface deep enough.
For example, that's what bothering me - in Minneapolis there is a huge community of Somalian refugees. Right next to UoM campus. Some or many of them are working, living normal life, though their women are not dressed by the weather. Just kidding.
But they are Muslims and here is what happened. Their local church (musk...whatever they name it) became a recruitment post for young jihad fighters, locally grown, fresh Minnesotans, and dozens of them are now shooting in Middle East and Africa. FBI was not able to stop it (religious freedom, sure), even they knew it for years and tried.
That's where my tolerance ends. Many, if not most, of them live in subsidized houses, using local and federal taxes. Peacefully breeding to get state help on kids who will be rightfully brainwashed and dedicate their short lives to serve Allah and getting a bunch of virgins later...
I believe that there are simply incompatible cultures, they do not melt, and the biggest mistake is creating this kind of forever lasting multistory refugee camps in the middle of different civilization. And religion is again in the center of the contradiction, as often lately. Even within one religion the conflicts may be fierce. (Iraq now). Democracy just does not belong there and it will not for couple of centuries.
A different issue in school - the flags. They are kind of political attribute, and may be associated with current international happening with poor projections on individual kids. There would be better having some other cultural attribute from the country or part of the world. Any artifacts would work better.
peacetraveler22
Jun. 18th, 2014 05:56 pm (UTC)
Do the women wear hijab or full burqas? Just curious. I recently read a report about MN being a breeding ground for jihadist, very scary. I agree it's a difficult line to draw with immigration and assimilation, but it's the price of living in a country like America, where people like the jihadist live off the system, government assistance and housing, etc. and then eventually terrorize and spit on the fundamental principles of the same nation. We saw the same thing happen with the Chechen bombers in Boston. However, these extremist are such a minority that we can't use them as an example of the average American immigrant. I don't know what the answer is, really. As one reader said above, "it's so complicated..."

Edited at 2014-06-18 05:57 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - pin_gwin - Jun. 18th, 2014 06:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
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sineglazzka2301
Jun. 18th, 2014 06:31 pm (UTC)
I am very far from politics, and my dream is peace in the whole world ( that was actually one of the popular slogans in ussr - "мир во всем мире").Cultural integration is inevitable in modern world, with all its global travelling and technologies. Especially in USA, which began its history as the country of immigrants.
Considering Russian schools-NO,NO and once more NO. It's absolutely impossible here. There are plenty of immigrants from former Asian republics, China and Vietnam in certain districts of the city where i live, so kids go to school without knowing Russian, but the general trend is that nothing is done to specifically integrate them. In their defence, I should say that their parents are not so much concerned about their integration either. Schools without such immigrants are considered to be better ones. Maybe this is sad, but it's just like that here.
peacetraveler22
Jun. 19th, 2014 01:59 am (UTC)
The parents probably can't speak Russian either, so the children have no framework from which to learn until they get to school. I think good teachers should be paid as much as doctors. They are so important to the future of all nations because they play an instrumental role in shaping children into responsible, intelligent beings. When I first started university, I wanted to be a teacher. Then I visited a class and realized it isn't the profession for me. I didn't have enough patience to deal with the 25 - 30 little kids for 7 or 8 hours a day.
(no subject) - sineglazzka2301 - Jun. 19th, 2014 04:22 am (UTC) - Expand
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andrey_kaminsky
Jun. 19th, 2014 04:52 am (UTC)
Немного о жизни
During a visit to Cuba, while talking about the inaccessibility of spare parts, one сuban said: "We are a third world country..." I said: "That's okay, we are too;)" He corrected me: "No, you are second world country". He was right. We are 20 years behind the developed countries. This is the high price we pay for our imperial past and participation in the Cold War.
But it is enough to talk about common things, it's time to be specific. I'm extremely interested in the personality of certain immigrant. This immigrant came to the U.S. 20 years ago. He could have become a millionaire, start his own religion, marry gay, join the swinger's club or become famous photographer, anyone. But he has not found himself in a new, great and beautiful country. We find him spending time in the russian segment of the Internet, where he spits on Russia and criticizes, criticizes, criticizes, then spits again. Sad picture ... What was the cause of the disaster that turned the man into an evil goblin? Short stature, short penis, thick glasses, a brick fallen from the roof or is it all together?
You should visit and interview general_denikin! (encouraging virtual slap on the ass here:)
peacetraveler22
Jun. 19th, 2014 02:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Немного о жизни
Only 20 years behind developed countries? In some of the provinces, it seems more like 50 years based on the quality and condition of buses and infrastructure. There are a handful of my readers who really despise their native homeland. You know who they are. :) But everyone is entitled to their opinion. I try to find good everywhere, but some places make it more difficult than others.
Re: Немного о жизни - sineglazzka2301 - Jun. 19th, 2014 02:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Немного о жизни - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 19th, 2014 03:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Немного о жизни - andrey_kaminsky - Jun. 19th, 2014 05:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
skvorets1989
Jun. 19th, 2014 03:28 pm (UTC)
I don't see any point of this. I'm not against it but I can't see how this can help to prevent or to stop racism if it exists at schools. I think that any kind of bullying should be punished and that's all conversation.

I personally don't care about diversity. We are different? Good. We are alike? Good. Doesn't matter.
peacetraveler22
Jun. 19th, 2014 03:32 pm (UTC)
I went to a school that was only attended by white, middle-class people. It was so boring to be surrounded by everyone who mostly thought and looked the same as me. So, I appreciate diversity a lot. I don't want to converse or spend time w/Americans only, or people with the same views as me. There's limited chance for intellectual growth and mind expansion if you are constantly in the company of clones of yourself.
(no subject) - skvorets1989 - Jun. 19th, 2014 03:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jun. 19th, 2014 03:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
macos
Jun. 20th, 2014 04:37 pm (UTC)
Is it serbian flag right after ukrainian one?
peacetraveler22
Jun. 20th, 2014 04:48 pm (UTC)
It's probably the Serbian flag, although some readers think it's an intentional attempt by pindo teachers to disparage the motherland. :)
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Jun. 20th, 2014 06:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
g_kar
Jun. 30th, 2014 12:03 am (UTC)
AFAIK, with each passing year teachers in Russian schooles spend more and more time writing stupid reports and less and less time doing nice things like this :(
peacetraveler22
Jun. 30th, 2014 02:01 pm (UTC)
Even in America, school is quite different now. Kids are subjected to standardized testing throughout the year and other assessments. We didn't have any of this when I was a student. There's more pressure to succeed because even kids with good grades sometimes have a difficult time getting into top colleges now. They take a lot of foreign students, making less room and less scholarships for qualified American students. Big subject of controversy here.
(no subject) - g_kar - Jul. 2nd, 2014 11:04 am (UTC) - Expand
amandakysses
Jul. 9th, 2014 05:13 am (UTC)
Yes! Growing up in NYC, even my preschool was called Townhouse International. We dressed up and celebrated all the holidays. Learned about all of our cultures. Explored all of our nationalities, etc.. always surrounded in diversity and taught acceptance and curiosity and love and open minds and open hearts. The more knowledge our children have, the more people and cultures we all are taught to understand, the better.
peacetraveler22
Jul. 9th, 2014 02:16 pm (UTC)
I agree! You are catching up on my posts today? I'm no longer on Facebook, so many people probably don't know when I have new entries here. Thanks for reading. :)
(no subject) - amandakysses - Jul. 9th, 2014 05:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 9th, 2014 05:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
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